Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Summa Discordia / Apocrypha Discordia

For my own satisfaction, I wish to review two marvelous post-Principia Discordian holybooks!

Principia Discordia

But to start with, I should mention Principia Discordia, or How I Found Goddess And What I Did To Her When I Found Her, th Magnum Opiate of Malacylpse th Younger - th first written utterances in modern times sent up to honor Goddess Eris, composed in th late 1950s & largely ignored in its time. This book contains th only canonical (if you can call it that) info about Discordianism. It introduces Eris worship through th authors' own psychedelic revelation at a bowling alley, pokes lots of fun at organized religion, provides suggestions for chaotic & ludicrous Discord, & even throws in some inspired philosophical bits. & all this appears amongs dozens of silly pictures, jokes & puns & Erisian Nonsense. It advocates Nonsense as Salvation, th Adoption of Holy Names, th use of a Discordian Calendar, th use of th Sacred Chao as a religious icon. It introduces some wacky fictional apostles, th Curse of Greyface, th Turkey Curse, tips for member initiation & th forming of independent cabals, & of course th Law of Fives (All things happen in Fives, or are divisible by or are multiples of Five, or are somehow directly or indirectly appropriate to 5). & all along it raises th paradoxical questions, "Is this Serious or just a Joke?"

Of course, th only appropriate answer to questions like that is Mu.

(After all, All affirmations are true in some sense, false in some sense, meaningless in some sense, true and false and in some sense, true and meaningless in some sense, false and meaningless in some sense, and true and false and meaningless in some sense.)

Th Principia changed my life & lots of others as well.

Lately, Discordianism has found a new life on th internet, where scores of strange folk have developed th basic ideas in th Principia through email lists & websites & found it quite applicable to th 90s & th new millenium. In addition to dozens of websites, a number of "holy books" have cropped up, all "kopylefted" - published with permission granted for anybody to do with it whatever th heck ey wants - "all rights reversed".

So I bought a few newer holybooks online & have been gradually reading them. Some I found too serious (th Books of Eris), too boring (A Pocket Full of Chaos), or too pointless (Apotheosis Psycherotica). I enjoyed these all somewhat, but I didn't find them exceptional.

Summa Discordia

However, just yesterday, I found myself totally enthralled by th Summa Discordia by th Beatus Ffungo. It really feels like it picks up where th Principia leaves off, but of course, forty years later. Th Beatus writes in a very smart, readable & humorous style, walking th same line th Principia walks between seriousness & comedy. I laughed out loud several times & found myself quite inspired by th book's empowering message of nonconformity. Where th Principia talks about Nonsense as Salvation, th Summa talks about th Functionality of th Strange. Ffungo derides THEM & th System & reveals to us that th Defamation League is trying to pass cabbages off as humans. "Why they are doing this is uncertain, but keep in mind these are some of the same people who said you'd go to hell for spanking the monkey."

Try going to a mall, for instance. Sit in the Food Court and just watch people. You'll start seeing the difference [between humans & cabbages] pretty quickly, and, if you're in a typical mall, about 85% of the ambulatory things you see will secretly be cabbages. If you can, sneak a quick third-eye glance just to confirm it, but don't let them catch you.

Th Summa is a great short read, but, like all other post-Principia holybooks I've encountered, its layout isn't as fun as th Principia's. Don't let that get you down. I think you'll enjoy it.

Some other highlights: Discordian Haiku, an interview with a Famous Guy (Jesus), th Mentos Conspiracy, a thoughtful discussion of Discordian Holy Names, & a very brief introduction to Operation Mindfuck.

Apocrypha Discordia

This 100-page compilation of Discordian writings provides a great variety of new ideas. I don't find it as consistently brilliant as th Principia & th Summa, but I uncovered some real gold in there. It features some ideas for Discordian ceremonies & rituals (A Mouse Banishing Ritual, an Invocation of Eris, a ritual for invoking th five Discordian Elements - sweet, boom, pungent, prickle & orange, etc.). Some of that seems to take itself too seriously, but that's a risk you take with things like that.

I particularly enjoyed th elaboration on Operation Minkfuck, which they also call Guerrilla Surrealism. Th Apocrypha describes several "Jakes," which are something like Discordian magic(k) spells intended to randomly baffle innocent bystanders (& minions of Greyface/cabbages) & create ultimately positive Eristic Vibrations. An example: mailing someone hundreds of identical sheep-shaped erasers anonymously, one at a time, with a written number on each mailing counting down from 203. (Oddly, this section claims to originate in th Summa Discordia, but I don't have it in my copy. I think th editor of my version of th Summa may have missed some things in tranferring th book from th internet to print.)

Th Apocrypha contains lots of unrelated ideas, like rules for Discordian card games, short silly parables, a luck spell, an intro to Discordian Magick, some alchemy, some interviews with fictional characters, & a description of a Discordian Tarot deck (no pics). A low point, in my opinion: some uninspired rants that don't necessarily reflect th positive spirit of Discordianism.

There's so much stuff in th Apocrypha that anyone interested in things Discordia will surely find something pleasant & amusing.


FYI: All of these books can be found at Oh My Eris Dot Com, plus several other holybooks that I haven't gotten yet. In fact, there are at least a half dozen more listed there now than th last time I peeked. I imagine there are a few more gems & a few more bores. I'll let you know when & if I come across another of th former.

1 comment:

drjon said...

I'm glad you liked my book :})>

You might like to visit the Appendix Discordia, wherein you'll find all manner of other interesting things, including the homepage for the Apocrypha, and the 1st Edition of the Principia.